Startup business owners often fight to break even. Many entrepreneurs take a DIY approach, handling everything from marketing to manufacturing. However, even on a shoe-string budget, you need a business lawyer on your startup team to get your company on the right foot, and head off problems before they start.
The Business Lawyer And The Accountant: A One-Two Punch To Starting Right
Whether you sell artisan crafts or manage the social media accounts of dozens of businesses, you still need to follow state and local laws, manage your cash flow, and pay taxes. Bringing on a skilled business lawyer and an accountant with experience in startups will make sure everything is set up properly from the start.
Your accountant may help you set up your books and accounting software, properly account for business income and expenses, arrange for merchant services (so you can accept credit cards), and create money-handling policies that protect you and your employees. He or she may also be able to coordinate your payroll needs. By using a formal payroll system, you can withhold anticipated taxes and avoid unpleasant surprises during tax season.
At the same time, your business lawyer can help you:
- Prepare and file foundational documents.
- Obtain a federal tax ID number.
- Register as an employer for worker’s compensation.
- Obtain a state sales tax number.
- Register your business with your county or municipality.
- Identify and obtain necessary licenses for your type of work.
Startup business owners sometimes don’t know what registration and licensing requirements exist. Without the guidance of a skilled business lawyer, you could easily make a mistake today that will haunt your business for years to come.
Preventative Law Lets Business Owners Avoid Lawsuits Through Well-Written Contracts
If you wait to hire a lawyer until you have to go to court, it’s too late. Whether you are trying to enforce your agreement or avoid a consumer complaint, by the time a disagreement gets to court, you are already losing money – in productivity time, attorney fees, and possibly fines or other monetary damages. By being proactive in your approach to law, you can avoid lawsuits and protect your interests. A startup business lawyer can help you draft robust contracts that anticipate potential problems and direct their resolution.
Most startup business owners sign several contracts in their first few months of business:
- Partnership agreements between founders.
- Employment contracts with key employees.
- Independent contractor agreements.
- Business lending agreements.
- Commercial lease agreements.
- Vendor contracts for outside service providers like commercial cleaners, accountants, or subcontractors.
- Service contracts with clients in service industries.
- Purchase orders for customers in manufacturing, distribution, and retail businesses.
Some of these contracts seem automatic, that the company can either take it or leave it. However, even lending contracts from large commercial banks have some room for negotiation. A startup business lawyer can help you review the terms of these contracts and make adjustments to allow your business to thrive.
When you control the terms of a contract, your lawyer can help you account for risks and contingencies you may never have thought of. He or she can also ensure that your contracts comply with state and federal laws connected to the sale of goods, terms of employment, or other industry-specific regulations.
What To Look For In A Startup Business Lawyer
A skilled business lawyer is one part consultant, one part planner, and one part litigator. When finding the startup business attorney that best suits your company, you need to be the lawyer has:
- Experience and reputation for working with startup companies.
- Past experience and success in your industry or a related field (but be careful if he or she has represented your direct competitor).
- Connections with specialist attorneys to address likely future concerns (such as copyright, trademark, or employment issues).
- Respect for your position as head of the business.
- The ability to communicate with you in a way you understand.
- A personality that complements yours.
Your startup business lawyer is an important part of your startup team and can be a resource for you as a new business owner. Through consultation and proactive legal drafting, he or she can ensure your business starts on the right path and avoids problems and litigation in the future.
Contact Top Bloomfield Hills Business Attorneys Today
The Cronin Law Firm has experienced attorneys to aid with whatever legal issue you’re facing. If you’re getting ready to open a startup business, contact The Cronin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.